(Courtesy of http://www.fasttrack.hk)
THE LONG MARCH AND BEING WARY OF STRANGERS BEARING GIFTS.
For the past six months, we’ve been hearing about how many from the racing industry in Oz think being in Hong Kong is “where it’s at.”
Well, frankly, we would rather be in Lithuania or Finland for various reasons, but to many in racing and the sport’s overnight “entrepreneurs”, being “where it’s at” means being close to the new breed of “shake your money makers” in the international racing world.
These are all Chinese money shakers like “emerging comet” OJ Wong who is purchasing horses hand-over-fist from Lady GaiGai, David Hayes and Peter Moody, casino magnate Mr Cheng and his sister Desiree from Sun International, and the big-spending- and plain BIG- billionaire Pan Sutong, below, owner of Gold Fun and Akeed Mofeed, and Chairman of Goldmin Australia which purchased Lindsay Park a few months ago.
Pan Sutong, by the way, speaks a rare Chinese dialect- not Yin Tong- and it’s both weird and quaint that Richard Gibson has new friend- Karen Ling- teaching his parrot how to speak the lingo. Hey, whatever works.
Like many right here on our doorstep who wish to “get close” to these Chinese golden geese, there are those coming from different parts of the racing world willing to bend over backwards and do somersaults “for the jugglers and the clowns” and make loud sucking sounds to try and have these people invest in their various schemes- each more daft than the other.
The key is this: OJ Wong, Pan Sutong etc are hard-arsed, inscrutable businessmen who have different companies and are now adding assets associated with racing to their portfolios- with calculated risk and looking at their ROI- return on interest- with IPOs and the stock market usually being the end game.
“Getting close” to them is one thing; wasting their time is another and making them lose face is something else altogether.
Watching from the sidelines is a new group of very cash-rich Chinese businessmen- and even more businesswomen- who wish to see what’s working for who and why and what more the sport can offer racing fans- especially the new generation of racing fans.
This consumer group and those who have the vision to find new ways to cater to this group- and invest in ideas for them- will be the real winners.
What’s also key about all of this is the huge paradigm shift taking place right now in the global racing world and where, along with the Larry, Sheik Mo’s and Curly Joe’s of this world, there are now these new players- Chinese players- who are already controlling many aspects of racing in all Australia- without many even knowing it.
This control goes beyond purchasing and owning horses. That’s chump change.
This control will result in changing the business model of bookmakers which needs a complete overhaul, the wagering, prize money, how the totalizator can be “adjusted”, sponsorship, the bloodstock industry, and, at the end of the day, it will be about who’s calling the shots.
It’s not unlike how China has taken over the wine market and Ms Yan Hongcao’s successful recent bid of 131,000 Euros at Monday’s Christie’s auction for a cask of top-quality burgundy.
It’s not unlike China and Chinese being the most important consumer group for luxury good and why polo and equestrian sports are taking off in the country and why Hall Of Fame NFL player Joe Namath is now there promoting American football.
Polo in China is about to explode. Watch.
Those who cannot, or refuse to see this and understand it, will be left in the wake of a relentless Long March that will walk over anything and anyone in its path.
MOORE THE BORE
A tip: If there are any interviews with John Moore before and after any big races, press delete. Then, press delete again. Whatever you do, DON’T read any of the gibberish.
There is almost TOO much information- all full of hype- and it can do your head in- and have your money go down the gurgler.
Tonight, Brett Prebble has three rides, Weichong Marwing has one and Colm O’Donoghue and Nico Pinna have none.
So, if there’s any need for models on the short side for Fashion Styles The Valley, you know who to call.
Seriously though, having all these jockeys, but with nothing for them to do other than watch the races from afar is a bit like being all dressed up with nowhere to go.
STOP! YOU’RE KILLING US!
Wah? Really? Nah?
Were the jockeys competing in last year’s asked to dance Gangnam Style and sing some wobbly lyrics before the start of The International Jockey?
Mercifully, the jocks gave the idea two thumbs down though we have to say that it would have been a trip and a half to have seen Ryan Moore go Gangnam on us.
NEW AGENDAS AND CHANGING FOCUS.
Much has been written in the influential Chinese racing media and water cooler talk about “the changing of the guard” within the jockey ranks.
This might seem correct on the surface, but dig deeper, or think it through from a business point of view, and it has everything to do with a shift in priorities and new agendas.
In these books, at least, Douglas Whyte is adding new assets to his portfolio.
Yes, his partnership with trainer John Size isn’t what it was and, perhaps, he made a few mistakes last season with some rides, and perhaps his horses for the trainer were coming up way under the odds.
As always, the Chinese media jumped all over this which had a domino effect with owners- and had the buck stop with John Size who has, no doubt, made a tough business call. Nothing personal, just business.
Whyte takes things on the chin, he’s tough, mentally and physically- and also pragmatic enough to change priorities.
Is he still driven? Yes- more driven than ever- but, possibly, not to win his fourteenth consecutive Hong Kong jockey premiership.
Instead, one might bet that he’s looking for bigger fish to fry- and outside of Hong Kong.
This Saturday, he makes his debut in Western Australia at Ascot’s big Super Saturday meeting where he will compete alongside Damien Oliver, Nash Rawiller, Craig Newitt, Nicholas Hall, Like Nolen, Damian Browne and Perth riding talent like Jarred Knoske, the Parnham brothers, William Pike, Troy Turner, Peter Knuckey etc.
Whyte has around five rides and is sure to go close on first-starter Sujets, which has been trialling very well.
This race day looks like being page one of the jockey’s next chapter in an already incredible career.
Meanwhile, despite not receiving any support from the stables of John Size or Tony Cruz, Zac Purton is making winning seem so easy.
He is in superb form and looks like racing away with his first Hong Kong championship win with his only competition being Joao Moreira.
The Magic Man is the joker in the pack and with Jerry Green kinda being his agent- a little odd for reasons not worth getting into right now- he is a marquee-value name for the HKJC that has shaken up the riding ranks- and been the reason for a significant increase in the wagering of the Jockeys Challenge.
Hong Kong racing fans adore the brilliant Brazilian nice guy and his very cavalier ways of trying to win on all his rides- though sometimes a little too gung ho.
As for talk about “favoritism” towards Moreira, well, that was quickly quashed when Chief Stipendiary Steward Kim Kelly and his racing police poured cold water on it by suspending the jockey- a suspension which commences at the most important time of the Hong Kong racing calendar- International Week.
How is Moreira- untouchable when the King of the Turf back in Singapore- taking this turn of events?
Well, one can’t exactly see him running around like Speedy Gonzales and singing La Bamba, but rules are rules and safety comes first.
Kim Kelly has sent out a powerful signal that should be applauded.
No one is beyond the law and how deferred suspensions could be used might have been miscalculated by the popular Brazilian rider.
Sometimes, those wascally wabbits refuse to appear outta tophats.
While this might have slowed down Moreira’s speedy ascent, it also proves that no one is trying to slow Purton down.
In fact, it should have given him the impetus to not just win his first jockeys premiership, but to also boot home a record number of winners for a season. And get hugs and kisses from Aaron Kwok.
With 32 winners already on the board, the lethal Zac Attack is well on its way to achieving this objective. It should be his focus. Anything extra is exactly that: An extra- even a ride for the first time for John Size.
As for John Size, right now, he plays a key role in these different agendas, new partnerships and success stories taking place.
His stable support, once saved for Whyte, has seen Moreira, Tye Angland and Karis Teetan rise to the occasion for the trainer and, in the near future, these three riders being to Zac Purton what Brett Prebble once was to Douglas Whyte- a serious challenger to his dominance in the riding ranks.
As for Douglas Whyte and Zac Purton, there will always be a competitive streak between the two. There has to be.
The latter, surprisingly, not being invited to retain his title in Japan’s Super Jockey series later this year- Whyte has received the invitation- has made the Great Divide between the two even more of a chasm.
For Douglas Whyte, it’s all part of his new agenda which really looks like keeping Hong Kong as his “home base” while picking and choosing his rides, staying on the good side of Pan Sutong, doing his damnedest to win on Akeed Mofeed on December 8, and strengthening his International brand.
With all this happening plus a far more openly competitive mood within the training ranks and the success of rookie trainer Chris So, below, racing fans are following everything that’s happening as some would a Korean drama series.
As for the HKJC, after the upcoming International Week has come and gone- and for this writer at least, Whyte on the Richard Gibson-trained Akeed Mofeed being Hong Kong’s only success story on International Day- it can look at the key players involved and see if the script might need some fine-tuning as the plot thickens.
SARIKA’S SIX UP AND QUADDIE
THE FAST TRACKER’S THOUGHT ON TONIGHT’S RACES AT HAPPY VALLEY.
R1: DIAMOND START/KA WAI FORTUNE
Remember Brett Prebble? Well, Diamond Start could be his first winner since returning to HK.
R2: BRILLIANT PROPOSAL/SILENT BELIEVER/LONELY BOY
The first winner of the night for Douglas Whyte.
Tough race. Time to go walkies.
R4: RIYADH/KING HARADASUN/WIN IT/COOL BEAN
Good betting race.
R5: GOLDEN ADDICTION/HOLY MAC/JACK’S GEM
If Karis Teetan doesn’t run into Mr Bean, Golden Addiction should be another winner for Teets and Size.
R6: St Yazin/Happy Champion/Highest Acclaim/General Iron
Why does this race- a tough one- remind me of the great Peter Sellers and his spoof of Tommy Steele aka Mr Iron?
R7: Swift Shadow/Electronic Fortune
Another winner for the Whyte Man.
R8: PLEASURE GAINS/IT HAS TO BE YOU
A tough ending to the night- but could be a great race!
SELECTIONS FROM THE BIG APPLE (@SW064351)
Race 6, No. 1 Choice Treasure
Drops back in grade and will get race run to suit. Go well.
Race 8, No. 7 Pleasure Gains
Overcame slow tempo and proved too strong when winning last start. Take beating.
Race 7, No. 9 Royal Partner
Maiden, but better suited at 1650m. Can hit the line if ridden quiet.
TONIGHT’S SELECTIONS FOR HAPPY VALLEY (FROM THE THIRD DIVIDEND)
HAPPY VALLEY (HONG KONG)
Night Races @HKJC_Racing
Turf (“C” Course – Worked back)
Weather: Mainly cloudy with one or two rain patches. Moderate east to northeasterly winds, occasionally fresh.
Race 1: Bank Street Hcp
1 – Shanghai Pioneer (7)
2 – Serendipity (6)
3 – Mega (9)
4 – Diamond Start (4)
Race 2: Grayburn Hcp
1 – Sight Believer (1)
2 – Brilliant Proposal (8)
3 – Lovely Boy (5)
4 – Call me Achiever (9)
Race 3: Jackson Hcp
1 – King Derby (1)
2 – Fresh Air (10)
3 – All Win Boy (2)
4 – Naughty Baby (7)
Race 4: Morse Hcp (Sec 1)
1 – Riyadh (3)
2 – Cool Bean (1)
3 – King Haradasun (7)
4 – Safari Magic (4)
Race 5 (Q1): Morse Hcp (Sec 2)
1 – Golden Addiction (3)
2 – Jack’s Gem (7)
3 – Uwillbeglorious (1)
4 – Holy Mac (2)
Race 6 (Q2): The Wayfoong Centenary Bowl Hcp
1 – London Walk (8)
2 – St Yazin (6)
3 – Regency Champion (5)
4 – Choice Treasure (1)
Race 7 (Q3): Queens Road Central Hcp
1 – Electronic Fortune (8)
2 – Swift Shadow (5)
3 – Great Charm (11)
4 – Snitzel Kid (7)
Race 8 (Q4): Sutherland Hcp
1 – Pleasure Gains (7)
2 – Little Dreams (2)
3 – Jolly Fine (11)
4 – Travel Brand (8)
Race 8: Pleasure Gains (7)
Race 4: Riyadh (3)
Race 1: Shanghai Pioneer (7)
Race 5: Holy Mac (2)
Quaddie ($100 gets you 39%)